Does Dental Fear Lead To Gum Disease?

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

I’ve always found it interesting that the percentage of American adults who have some level of dental fear (estimated at 75%) nearly parallels the percentage of adults ages 65+ who have some level of gum disease (70%).

It is the 65+  age group who endured dentistry in a different atmosphere than in most modern dental offices today. While today’s generation has a wide choice of dentists with reputations for gentle care who are attuned to the unique needs of fearful patients, many in the 65+ age group can recall less-than-pleasant experiences. Those born before 1949 also have the highest percentage of lost teeth and being totally edentulous (without any teeth).

Lack of regular dental care leads to the formation of cavities, gum disease, tooth loss and health risks from oral bacteria, which can trigger systemic inflammation. The inflammatory reactions have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, preterm babies, and even impotency.

Dental fear is a major factor in the frequency of dental visits among a large percentage of aging adults. If fear has kept you from regular dental visits, regardless of your age, you will find today’s dental environments are highly sensitive to your comfort throughout each visit. Sedation options are available in most offices, however, finding a dentist you trust will have the best impact on your ability to release past fears and achieve the smile you desire.

If you are behind on regular dental exams and cleanings, call our office for a full periodontal exam. Chances are you have some level of gum disease. Once your mouth is restored to a healthy state, we can make recommendations to help you fulfill other needs for a confident smile! Call (828) 274-9440 for an appointment.


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